Het ontwikkelingsprogramma van de Marokkaanse overheid ‘Plan Vert’ of ‘Green Plan’ dat in 2008 gelanceerd werd, werpt zijn vruchten af.
Neighboring Morocco, already the second-largest global exporter of table olives, is reaping the rewards of the government’s Green Morocco plan for olive farming. In 2008, The Moroccan Government introduced the program to encourage farmers in rural areas to switch to growing olive trees instead of wheat or other crops, creating more jobs and a boost to olive oil production. Thanks to the initiative, Morocco now has one million hectares dedicated to olive groves.
According to the Moroccan center for Export Promotion, Morocco has almost doubled its production in six years to 1.5 million tons. The olive oil sector has greatly reduced unemployment for women in particular, creating over 300,000 permanent jobs
Up until now, the quality of Moroccan olive oil was relatively unknown but researchers, using industry standards recently analyzed and published their report on the quality and purity of Moroccan olive oil in the journal Food Chemistry. Researchers classified 94 percent as extra virgin and only 6 percent as virgin oil. One Moroccan olive oil brand, Morok O, won a Gold Award at the NYIOOC.
According to Morocco’s Directorate of Studies and Financial Forecasts (DEPF) Morocco’s main export clients are the European Union with shares of 50 percent and the US with 37 percent.
As consumers abroad are showing greater interest in quality olive oil and origin designations, the next step for both countries, industry stakeholders say, is to move from bulk exporting to branded products for added value.